These little sugary moon shaped cookies are always at the top of our list to bake for the Advent season and they are probably one of the most popular Christmas cookies in Germany. A Kipferl is a crescent shape. They are fun to make, especially if you have a lot of helpers. My son Lukas used to call them Vanilla Moons when he was little. He was a great helper! He would try so hard to make that crescent shape! But after a couple of them he would move on to forming beautifully immaculate full moons with his little hands (blobs).
This cookie is older than the Christmas tree and it shares its Pagan origin.
It became really popular after the synthetic vanilla flavor Vanillin was discovered at the end of the 19th century.
YIELD 80-120 DEPENDING ON SIZE
- 1 1/2 cups of flour (180g)
- 2 scant cups of ground almonds (200g)
- 2/5 cups of sugar (70g)
- 2 sticks of butter (220g)
- 5 packs of Vanillin-Zucker or 1/4 cup of homemade vanilla sugar
- 1/4 cup of sugar (50g)
Mix the Vanillin-Zucker with the sugar and set aside. I am usually all for using real vanilla instead of fake synthetic flavors, but these cookies are usually made with synthetic Vanillin. You can make your own vanilla sugar by splitting a vanilla bean and submerging it in regular granulated sugar. Let it sit for 3 weeks. The vanilla bean will infuse the sugar with a wonderful vanilla scent and taste and when I feel like I might need to add a fresh vanilla bean to my sugar I use the old one for a vanilla sauce (something I make frequently).
Combine the flour, the ground almonds, the sugar and the butter and knead into a soft dough. Cover with plastic and chill for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Many German Christmas cookies are hand formed and the goal is to create a whole lot of them that are as equal in size and shape as possible. This is a common method for creating equal sizes. Cut off a portion of the dough and roll it to about 3/4" thick. Use a butter knife to evenly cut the dough into about 1/4" thick disks. Place each disk into the palm of your hand and roll it into a small pointed noodle, then use the tip of your thumb to form the crescent shape.
Leave some space around them on the baking sheet as they will expand. Bake for 15 minutes until they are just beginning to very lightly brown at the tips.
Gently roll each cookie in the vanilla sugar while still hot.
Store in a parchment lined tin container for up to 4 weeks.
SOURCE: ADAPTED FROM MARGARETE‘S RECIPE
PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 8th, 2014